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November Financial Slip Up – Spending and Saving

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Before I jump into the unexpected expenses, some updates on me personally. I’m sorry I’ve been posting a bit irregularly. I’ve been really sick. My bad cold for the past few weeks is acute bronchitis and I’m using a bronchodilator now. Trying to sleep has been hell. I woke up every hour last night coughing. The stress of the past month is catching up to me and I’m not in my 20s any longer. I can’t get by on a few hours of sleep with stress hormones raging all day. I seem to be regaining energy. Let’s hope this is passing…

This is a snapshot from an app that collects data from my Apple Watch. The grey spaces on the circle are where I was awake, coughing. My sleeping heart rate is usually 58-62 BPM and the past week it has gone up into the 80s. My doctor said the sickness is causing obstructive apnea which results in a lack of oxygen and a higher heart rate. So, yes, still struggling to get my life back on track. October was so hard.

“Unexpected” Expenses

Last week, I was feeling pretty high after checking some boxes on my goals for the year. I had set goals to eliminate my high interest debt and cancel my expensive banking products, which I did. But then…

Some expenses came up. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in 2019, these things shouldn’t be unexpected.

  • My mum’s house sold, and then she had to be in Nova Scotia in a day. 24 hours. She packed up her SUV and stopped by my house at 9pm on her way out east, and we ended up at a nice steakhouse (The Keg). We were in jeans and sneakers, looking for chicken wings or something casual, but decided to have a fancy dinner. We won’t see each other at Christmas. I picked up the check for $153.24 and didn’t think about the money. We were both crying. She drove through the night to go sign her paperwork.
  • Bestie Dan visited from Ottawa. I mentioned in August he visits about once a year. This is an auspicious year, I suppose. Two visits! He had some business in Toronto and asked to spend the night last week. We met his mother for dinner ($40.03 for my portion) and then the next day, met my coworkers (he worked with us doing a co-op for his PhD at one point). We had layoffs at work that morning, and Dan’s Reunion Lunch became a liquid lunch for some laid off people. There was a very convoluted billing process and I ended up with $70 on my tab. So, $110 for Dan’s visit.
  • Mike’s birthday is today. I spent $70 on some warm work clothes on sale and lucky red panda socks (he loves red pandas!) and $20 for wine. On top of that, we are meeting his sister for dinner tonight (I’m not drinking, obviously. I’m sick).
  • One of my mentors at work is moving away and we are seeing him off Wednesday. I’ll go for an hour to say farewell, but that’s it. $10 budget, plus taking the subway home.

The Aftermath

I’m crushed. Can I afford this? Sure. I won’t go hungry. But I had worked hard for a couple of months to not be this spendy, and it feels like it’s all undone. Coming up on Christmas, there will be money needed for extra things. It’s imperative that I am thrifty this month. And I need to be aggressive with paying off my consolidation loan. I don’t want to be lazy and say I can put my bonus towards the loan.

So this is a bit of a financial reckoning for me. I need to be wise with my money this month, in order to both be aggressive with debt repayment and to avoid dipping into savings. I want to stress, I’m not in debt over this. It’s just that I blew all my disposable income in a few days.

The Plan

I’m making a meal plan for the rest of the week now. My chest freezer has lots of protein in it, so I can spend very minimally on food. This weekend, I’m planning on seeing my grandparents as they pack up their house, so that will be an inexpensive weekend. Next week, there is nothing planned socially or professionally to cost me money and I’m going to keep it that way.

Time to smarten up. There are no such things as unexpected expenses. And back to revisiting how I can track my money. Mint.com sent me an email this morning that they have new integrations available, so I’m going to take a look and see if they’ve fixed my accounts.


Update on my Anxiety – Opportunities for Growth

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Well guys, that sick day was just what the doctor ordered. I should remember anxiety is also a sickness, and take that time in the future.

Thank you for your kind comments. I haven’t felt like myself lately, and yesterday I took the day to listen to my body and heart. I slept in a bit, and I made my way to the doctor. That was scary. My doctor’s office is conveniently open 7 days a week, but my doctor keeps strange hours and I have only met him once. I normally see whoever is working at the time. I lucked out because my family doctor was working. He’s slightly younger and from another part of the world, which didn’t deter me, but made me wonder if he was a decent doctor, or if he would judge me for having anxiety. He didn’t.

Just what the doctor ordered

He was kind, and he asked a lot of questions. My ears and sinuses were examined, and they were were completely filled with gunk. He cleaned my ears a bit and told me my driving issue could very well be a combination of inner-ear issues and anxiety. He told me to wait til this cold/flu passes and see how I feel. Then we talked about anxiety, and he asked me when I feel the most anxious. I answered:

  • when checking work email
  • when I have more than one coffee (my heart pounds!)
  • confrontation or perceived confrontation
  • seeing my mom’s parents. I love them so much, but we are diametrically opposed politically and it causes a lot of strife.
  • sometimes driving the last 30 miles to and from my dad’s house (winding, hilly roads with high speed limits and impatient local drivers who like to go very fast)
  • figuring things out with Mike (not much happening here – he works 16 hours a day and I am busy or sleeping during his free time)

He had some practical advice. Kick coffee for a couple weeks and see how it feels. Try driving on the streets around my house, where I am comfortable. Don’t do any of the listed items above before trying to drive. And we chatted about therapy options.

So, what am I doing about my anxiety?

The doc had some practical advice here, too. He referred me to two therapists, one downtown and one near my house. He said to set up intro sessions with both, because personality match is important. When we spoke about the online options, he emphatically endorsed both of the sites I had looked into. He said his wife used BetterHelp in the past for managing work stress, and he had a couple patients who had used Maple.

Essentially, he recommended I talk to a few people and try their services out, and see what helps me the most.

I left, and I looked into my work benefits. We have an Employee Assistance Program at work and I signed up for counselling starting next week over my lunch hour. This appears to be a group of four people (not from my company – from companies who use the same insurance provider) in an anonymous online therapy session. You can be referred to free private counselling from this program, which is the only reason I’m going to attend the online group session.

All in all, I have five options on the go (BetterHelp, Maple, my two referrals from the doc, and my EAP). I’m going to explore them all.

And, I have Rosie and Billy. Sometimes, it’s good to just step outside in the sunshine with my pets and enjoy the moment.

Life is a Highway

Lastly, I want to let you all know I drove my car completely fine today. It was just to get gas and groceries, but it was ok. Maybe it was the sinuses throwing my balance off?? I don’t feel ready for the highway or the winding country roads yet. I’m going to practice some curvy highway sections with a friend on Saturday. I’ve felt a little nervous around concrete medians and high-speed turns for awhile now, so I think I am going to take time to build confidence on the road again, regardless of whatever else is going on.

My next post will have some positive financial updates for you, such as:

  • credit score update
  • some appliance thrifting I was forced to do
  • finally ditching my bank fees!

Thanks for sticking around <3


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